What to expect from your architectural lighting manufacturer
Your architectural lighting manufacturer is just one of a series of suppliers who play a part in the completion of your project. And the products they supply have the power to make or break your lighting design.
Although there are plenty of similar fittings on the market, each manufacturer will have a different track record for producing quality products. Each fitting contributes to the overall success of your design, so you want to be sure you’re selecting the very best products.
Finding an architectural lighting manufacturer who spends time working on the details of your project, yet still delivers on time and within budget, can be challenging. However, there are a few key qualities that you should always look for….
1. British manufacturing
There’s a reason British manufacturing is renowned around the world and that’s because of the quality it’s associated with. Not only does the UK have the backing of rigorous trading standards, but we also have a long history of creating robust, high-quality goods.
Working with a UK lighting supplier who manufactures their products in-house, gives you peace of mind that their solutions will be backstopped by solid processes and high-quality materials. Although UK manufacturing shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it’s certainly a good place to start.
2. Rigorous prototyping
Every great product goes through various iterations before it reaches its optimum form and architectural lighting solutions are no exception. Whether you’re looking for a bespoke or an off-the-shelf fitting, a good manufacturer will be able to explain the process behind the finished design.
It might be that the product has been refined over the years to establish itself as one of the market leaders of its type, or it could be a fitting that’s been created specifically for your project. Either way, each component part should be tested, improved upon and tested again to ensure peak performance.
Take these bespoke woven halos we created for Hoare Lea at Intu Shopping Centre, for instance. The halos were to be illuminated using different coloured LEDs and built in sizes up to 5 x 7m. To accommodate this, our product designers suggested aluminium as the best lightweight material for the job.
In order to test the suggested design, we created actual size mock-ups which were suspended from the ceiling in our facility. Examining the prototype, the client gave their feedback and we were able to refine the design until everyone was completely happy with the end result.
3. Long-standing experience
Although experience isn’t everything, it’s certainly a useful indictor of a manufacturer’s abilities. An architectural lighting manufacturer with a couple of decades of experience under their belt will have taken on a sizeable number of briefs over the years and this will add value to your project.
There’s nothing more encouraging than finding a supplier who’s previously overcome a challenge similar to the one you’re facing. They may even be in a position to recommend a solution you hadn’t thought of yet. Tapping into the expertise of a long-standing lighting manufacturer early on in your project inception could save you time and money in the long run.
4. Tried-and-tested product range
Every lighting manufacturer will have their own product range they want to push out and it’s often down to you to navigate the minutiae of the options available. A good way to approach this is to look at where their products have been previously used.
A lighting manufacturer may claim to have the ‘best linear LED solution on the market.’ But which projects has it featured within? Who has specified it? Can they show you any noteworthy examples? The answers they provide will help you sort the trusted products from the less-accomplished.
5. Bespoke design
In addition to the regular products they supply, your architectural lighting manufacturer should also have experience creating bespoke solutions wherever required. Bespoke products are the lifeblood of a lighting manufacturer and give designers the opportunity to get really creative.
At Kemps, many of the products we supply as off-the-shelf solutions started life as bespoke requests from clients years go. Bespoke projects provide us with the opportunity to keep learning by tapping into our collective knowledge and producing something unique.
6. Efficient turnaround
Ultimately, for all the innovation that’s required of a lighting manufacturer, they still have to be able to deliver what they say they will, when they say they will. As we mentioned, your lighting manufacturer is one supplier within a long chain and any delays cost you precious time and resource.
One way to make sure your supplier will meet their deadlines is to choose a company who manufactures on-site, rather than via an external warehouse or third-party. This way, you know the person you’re dealing with is able to provide you with live, accurate updates on the progress of your order.
Do you have an architectural lighting challenge you’d like to share with us? Get in touch to discuss your requirements or get a quote.
Take a look at the bespoke lighting fixtures we created for StudioFractal as a part of the Royal Opera House redevelopment, which opened its doors in September 2018.